Amadi and Aaliyah are both alumni from the Class of 2019, though they attended different AF Connecticut high schools. Their paths first crossed while they were applying to attend Wellesley College. Now, they’re roommates and enjoying their first year at Wellesley, and they sat down with us to share more about how college is going so far.
We’re excited to get to know you! What are your favorite classes? Are you considering any majors yet?
Aaliyah: My favorite class so far is probably Portuguese because I’m able to interact with the class and teacher a lot. And I’ve always wanted to study engineering, so next semester I’ll be taking physics and calculus. I’m not sure what area of engineering I’ll pursue, but I’m leaning toward biomedical or electrical engineering.
Amadi: My favorite class is either Portuguese or history, which is surprising because I was trying to drop my history class initially. It’s European history, and my strong suit is U.S. history. But now I’m more confident in that class and speak up a lot, which wasn’t something I did before—even at AF Amistad High. For majors, I’m deciding between biochemistry and marine biology. I’m definitely going to be in the STEM field.
Sounds like a plan! So that’s academics covered—what about campus activities or clubs? Are you involved in anything?
Amadi: I’m a member of a group called Wellesley for Caribbean Development, where I want to take on a leadership role soon. I’m also in Ethos, the organization for students of African descent. I’m part of our beauty care committee, which holds events for self-care and hair. I’ve been braiding hair all week; my fingers are so tired! I’m hoping to start sports in the spring—specifically track, if my knee is better, and MIT gymnastics. I did gymnastics before high school and cheerleading in high school. I also ran track for Amistad all four years.
Aaliyah: I’m also in Ethos, and I’m part of our Big/Little group. When first years come in, there’s a ceremony where we get paired with an upperclassman big sister, and mine is really nice. And I’ll be starting my work study in the dining hall soon.
We’re glad to hear that you’re getting involved on campus! Thinking about your time at Wellesley so far, how have you grown? Is there anything that surprised you about college?
Aaliyah: I’m a lot more social than when I was in high school, which is partly because of Amadi—she’s really helped me. I’ve also made more friends, and I’m surprised to be honest. I’m reserved and prefer to be by myself sometimes, but I’m more outgoing now in college. In my Africana studies and writing classes, there’s a lot of reading, which I wasn’t totally prepared to handle. But I’m figuring it out.
Amadi: I didn’t have any expectations for college; I was just ready to go. The independence I’m getting right now is great. As far as the workload, AF Amistad High gave us a lot of homework. So sometimes if I’m feeling a little stressed, I ask myself, “where have I felt this before? Oh, Amistad!” And I know what to do. There is a lot of reading, but I have a study method I use and I’ve got the hang of things now. I haven’t changed at all, I’m still the same goofy person—that’s who I am. I was already social in high school, but only around my friends. Now I’m social around everyone. Since everyone is friendly, that’s made me be more friendly.
Some things change and some things stay the same—sounds right to us! What’s one thing you’re proud of doing since you’ve been here?
Amadi: I’m proud of establishing a strong friend group. There’s 11 of us, including me and Aaliyah. We do our homework and study together all the time. We come from all over the country: California, Texas, Virginia, Massachusetts, and of course, Connecticut. We usually have lunch and dinner together, and breakfast—if you get up in time!
Aaliyah: I’d say I’m proud of my friend group. And I spoke with a physics professor recently. At first, I was nervous to reach out, but I emailed her and asked to talk about a potential major. We met in her office, and her advice was to take a physics course next semester and test the waters to see if I like it. She sent an email to another department advisor and asked if there are research opportunities that they could connect with me. That’s also something I’m proud of.
You should both be proud of those things! Let’s say we have a time machine, and you can go back and give yourself advice last year as you were starting your senior year. What would you say?
Amadi: I would’ve said, “apply to more overnights,” so that I could’ve had more trips to experience potential colleges. And I wish I would’ve played soccer my senior year.
Aaliyah: I would have people tell me I was so smart and doing a good job, but I wouldn’t believe them. I was pretty stressed with my work and the college process, so I would say “don’t be too hard on yourself.”
Great advice! Last question, and let’s make it something fun: do you have any college “life hacks” you can share?
Amadi: Stick together with your friends when you go off-campus. Bring all the seasonings and ramen. If you don’t come with snacks, bring containers to the dining hall and pack them up!
Aaliyah: Take all the cookies from the dining hall! Then if you get hungry at night, you’ll have a snack. And take Portuguese, it’s fun. My new favorite song is in Portuguese.
Perfect! Thanks for sharing, Amadi and Aaliyah! Good luck with finals and wrapping up this semester!